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Periodization: Switch It Up To Build It Up

As the old saying goes, variety is the spice of life. Nobody likes to be stuck in a rut, going through the motions, traversing the same obstacles, and negotiating the same weary routines, month in month out. For optimal results, this mindset should transfer across into your training.

Pic: bodybuilding.com

If you made a list of your favorite meals, then ate them every single day, at the same time, with no variation whatsoever, you would soon be sick of them. You’d find yourself dreading meal times, and in many instances, your health would suffer.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

So why do so many people endlessly trudge through the same exercise routines, training the same body parts on the same days, using the same lifts and the same rep ranges, and still expect to grow and develop at the same rate?

Surely you have noticed how, after using the same regime for a while, you barely even feel sore the next day? This is because your body adapted to the stresses you place on it and it is no longer adequately stimulated. You have to switch things up to keep your body on its toes, and to prevent yourself from getting bored.

Many people simply don’t have a well-structured plan of attack. They try to add muscle, sculpt body parts, and burn fat, all at the same time, using training methods that very often compete with each other. Cancelling out much of their effort.

So, first, sit down and honestly decide what your training goals are right now. Think in manageable, but substantial chunks of time, and think where you realistically want to be. Something like three months is a good timeframe. It allows time to get stuck in a plan of attack, and for results to shine through.

Periodizing your training keeps your muscles guessing, leading to a greater need for effective recovery between sessions. Sheer Recovery is jammed with all the little extras you need to turn your training into results. Add a couple of scoops to your post-workout nutrition and reap the rewards.

Bulking, Shaping, and Cutting

Maybe you have your first big competition on the horizon; you’ve left plenty of time and want to be in top shape for the stage?

Or perhaps you’re just aiming to be in much better shape for the next beach season?

Pic: t-nation

Whatever your end goal, if you want to get bigger, harder, and leaner, with great symmetry, you need to break it down and employ some serious periodization to your training. You can’t expect to chug away at the same regime and pull all of those aspects together to your full potential without adding time to the equation.

You need to break your training down into periods of bulking, shaping, and cutting, and you need enough time to get it all done.

Let’s say you have eight months until D-Day. That’s eight months of concentration, dedication, and effort needed. This time should be broken down as follows-

  • Months 1-3 – Bulking
  • Months 4-5 – Shaping
  • Months 6-8 – Cutting

Each of these phases can also then be broken down into a complex structure of periods. This is the best way to build all around strength and lean muscle.

Bulking Systems

When bulking, make sure you are getting plenty of calories to grow. You need lots of quality protein for laying down new muscle, plenty of complex carbs for energy and don’t forget the fats. Animal fats elevate testosterone levels, while healthy fats found in nuts, oils, and fish, stimulate growth while helping to prevent excess body fat.

There are so many different training systems for adding bulk to your frame, so why not try them all?

Break your bulking phase down by incorporating different training programs, again, keeping your muscles guessing, and hitting them from all angles.

Upper/Lower Split

A great place to start is by employing the upper/lower split method. Break your body into two workouts, one upper body, and one lower, then perform these twice per week. The best way to fit these sessions in is by using a 2-on, 1-off, 2-on, 2-off system.

When using the upper/lower split method, you will have a lot to fit into each workout and less recovery time than you may be used to. The key is to warm up sufficiently and put in a few good, heavy sets to stimulate growth, without totally obliterating each muscle group. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always have to ache for days after a training session to get great results. Two to four weeks of this system at the start of your bulking period will get some major growth kick-started, and increase your powers of recovery for the long journey ahead. Here’s a sample routine.

  • Day One
    • Squats
    • Lunges
    • Leg Extensions
    • Seated Leg Curls
    • Standing Calf Raises
    • Machine Crunches
  • Day Two
    • Bench Press
    • Chins
    • Shoulder Press
    • Barbell Curls
    • Dips
  • Day Three Rest
  • Day Four
    • Deadlift
    • Leg Press
    • Leg Extensions
    • Lying Leg Curls
    • Seated Calf Raises
    • Hanging Leg Raises
  • Day Five
    • Inclined (Slight) Bench Press
    • Barbell Rows
    • Seated Cable Rows
    • Incline Dumbbell Curls
    • Upright Rows
    • Lateral Raise
    • Overhead Dumbbell Extension
  • Day Six-Seven Rest

5×5

The 5×5 system is gaining a reputation as possibly the greatest bulk-building regime out there. What’s more, it’s very simple. You perform five sets of five reps for all of your big, compound lifts. You could even incorporate the above upper/lower split system into your 5×5 training. After a few weeks of this, you should switch to training each body part once per week. At this point, add in a few isolation sets after each compound lift to destroy the muscle group.

5×5 training is absolutely excellent for boosting testosterone levels, due to the intensity of the low rep, heavy sets. Increase this effect by adding a top quality testosterone booster to your supplement stack. Sheer Alpha+ is a superb supplement packed with potent ingredients like D-Aspartic Acid and Zinc to help send your test levels through the roof, naturally.

German Volume Training

Pic: muscleandstrength

German Volume Training is a training system so intense you only want to do it for a few weeks, and then take a full week away from the gym to allow your body to recover.

GVT works on a 10×10 principle. Yep, 10 sets of 10 reps per major exercise!

But, it gets even worse!

Instead of just pushing out set after set, you effectively perform them in slow motion. You must lower the weight for 4 seconds before immediately lifting again with no rest at either the top or bottom of the lift. However, you don’t just lift the weight in a powerful fashion as with most other systems, you lift for a gruelling, muscle-shredding two count! Give this torture a go!

Shaping

After three or more months of serious bulking, using mainly big compound movements, you may have slapped on plenty of muscle, but are unlikely to be the shape you want. Your symmetry may be a little off. This is where you enter the shaping period of your routine.

Shaping still incorporates bulking, but now you add in more isolation movements, taking special care to lavish attention on any body parts you feel need extra work. Usual culprits here include calves, shoulders (individual heads), areas of the triceps, and the upper chest. Tailor your training to hit these areas, and if appropriate, train them twice per week. Also never forget your problem could be overtraining!

FST-7

FST-7 (Fascia Stretch Training) is a great system to incorporate in your shaping period. It is an excellent program for sculpting the muscles and shocking them to growth.

The main principle of FST-7 is stretching the muscle fascia, the tissue often contains and restricts muscular development. This is achieved by working with large volumes of high rep, sub-failure sets, aimed at providing HUGE pumps.

Pic: juicedmuscle

Adding Sheer NO to your pre-workout supplements guarantees huge, fascia-stretching pumps by flooding the muscles with blood flow promoting nitric oxide.

The seven in the system name comes from the fact you must finish each body part by performing seven sets of 12-15 reps of your chosen exercise.

So, if your shoulder caps are lacking width, your delt routine may look like this…

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press- 1 warm-up, followed by 3 sets of 10-12 reps (no failure)
  • Upright Rows- 3 sets of 10-12 (No failure)
  • Lateral Raise- SEVEN sets of 12-15 reps (Gradually to total failure)

Cutting

Without delving into huge detail, cutting involves dropping your calories to slightly below maintenance level and adding cardio into your program.

Losing 500 calories (after assessment of daily requirements) leads to around one pound of fat loss per week (assuming this is adequate, and you haven’t blown out) which is ideal for changing your physique while maintaining your hard earned muscle.

Taking Sheer Thermo helps ensure this weight loss is mainly fat by fuelling your body with potent ingredients that encourage your body to melt blubber for energy.

Now, don’t think that you have to spend hours on a treadmill, staring at yourself in the mirror. While this is a proven method for fat loss, it is hugely time-consuming and boring, not to mention catabolic!

No, incorporating three short sessions of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into your weekly regime helps the fat disappear while actually BOOSTING testosterone, thereby by protecting muscle mass.

Read more about HIIT HERE

Don’t try to tackle all of your goals at once, make a plan, periodize your training, and reap the rewards!

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